John O’Groats to Land’s End in a week? You must be Cyclo-Paths

Mike Rock of Dream-A-Way (white shirt) with mascot Jude Barrett,Matthew Barrett,Russell Bellairs,Nic

Mike Rock of Dream-A-Way (white shirt) with mascot Jude Barrett,Matthew Barrett,Russell Bellairs,Nick Baker,Mark Denning and Stephen Parry. Ref shs 1039-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A team of five fundraisers will have just 10 wheels between them when they ride the length of the country in just a week for a new charity-boosting Sidmouth group.

Matt Barrett, Mark Denning, Steve Parry, Nick Baker and Stuart Coles - the self-proclaimed Sid Valley Cyclo-Paths - have a matter of months to prepare for the mission from John O’Groats to Land’s End - when they will clock up a gruelling 120 miles a day.

They are riding to boost Dream-A-Way Sidmouth, a splinter group formed from the success of local fundraisers (see story, right).

“We’re doing something in one week that most people do in two,” said Matt, who works at Exeter College.

“We’ve got four-and-a-half months to train – it will soon go. We’re really up against it.

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“I’m excited about it but I don’t think any of us are under any illusion of how difficult it’s going to be.”

The 36-year-old will ride with compliance manager Nick, 42, Mark, a 44-year-old builder, Stuart, 28, and Steve, a bar owner, who at 57 is the oldest rider.

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They are familiar with events such as one-day sportifs and rides of up to 400 miles, but the over 900-mile distance will be a whole new challenge.

The quintet have chosen the arguably more difficult ‘downhill’ route – but say they would rather tackle Exmoor, Bodmin and Dartmoor to finish in sunny Cornwall than face a 20-hour drive back from northernmost Scotland.

“The first couple of days the adrenaline will be running, but then it will be a real test of our stamina and our willpower,” said Matt.

Supporting them will be a pair of drivers, Russell Belairs and Merv Baker, who will carry spares and ride on ahead to find a mechanic should any major damage occur.

He is appealing for businesses to sponsor their jerseys or anyone interested in sponsoring the ride to email him at

Dream-A-Way works across the South West to assist people living with physical and learning difficulties and their families. One hundred per cent of the money raised goes towards holidays and day trips.

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